What a way to start our day. I slept in a little this morning, since I had already decided to call in sick: a prolonged elbow soreness just seemed to get much worse over the weekend. Time to stop “toughing it out” and call the doctor. While I was brushing my teeth, Joyce turned on the radio to listen to the news on 1010 WINS, and the first thing she hears is something like, “Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden.” (And I went to bed thinking the world’s biggest news is “My elbow feels horrible.”)
The death of Osama bin Laden comes at an interesting moment. It came one day after the 56th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s death (perhaps they can become roommates now). It was also the eighth anniversary of George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. (Wow, I guess they can start an “Axis of Evil” fraternity in the nether world.)
I confess: I can go for days on end with these quips at the expense of bin Laden. Many have already beaten me to it. When I heard that our military gave him an immediate “burial at sea” (to balance Islam’s requirements of immediate burial with the fact that no country would accept his remains), my first thought was: “There is a part of me that wishes we had boiled his body in pig blood and then fed it to rats. Send him out in a manner most offensive to Muslims. He does not deserve our respect.” (Yes, I actually posted that online, on a friend’s Facebook friend.)
That is the human side of me speaking: the side that demands justice. However, after having a few cups of coffee, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, and spending a few minutes reading the Bible and praying, I realize that I need to apply my beliefs as a Christian AHEAD of my values as an American.
So, the following are just a few random thoughts about bin Laden’s death. This is not an in-depth analysis by any means, just a few thoughts that came to mind this morning.
- At the beginning of the “War on Terror” in 2001, I shared a word, which I still believe came from the Lord, at church. I shared that terrorism is merely one of many forms of evil—of the work of Satan—in the world today. We must not allow ourselves to sell out to wickedness in our efforts to end terrorism.
- Growing out of that, I have to think: Maybe it is a good thing that we gave bin Laden a burial at sea. No, it is not what he deserved: For his crimes against humanity, he deserved something akin to the pig-blood-bath I proposed above. But, we proved something to the world when we buried him at sea. We, the American people, are BETTER and MORE NOBLE than bin Laden and his fellow Islamic extremists. Despite his wickedness, we treated him with a certain degree of dignity as a fellow human being. Islamic extremists will place their religious convictions ahead of human dignity. The Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes that human dignity is central to our entire ethical and moral system, since God created us in His image.
- Indeed, I will be so bold as to say that our value system, based on a Judeo-Christian system of morality and ethics, is more noble than the repressive value system of Islamo-fascism. I am not ashamed to say that. Am I being intolerant? Absolutely: And I will remain intolerant of immorality, evil, and wickedness until the end of eternity.
- The war against terror is not over. Osama bin Laden is dead, but in the days to come, we will all have the displeasure of getting to know who will take his place as head of Al-Qaeda. Bin Laden was evil, but he was not an idiot. He knew our troops were coming after him. He was fighting for a cause that he believed in, one he was willing to die for, which he would want to maintain after he died. Someone will take his place. Someone has been groomed to keep his blind vision alive.
- The war against evil will never end until Jesus Christ returns. The Book of Revelation summarizes the spiritual war between God and Satan, which is usually manifested in the flesh-and-blood world we live in. In Revelation 20:7–15, we read how God will finally judge the world: Satan, the demons, all those who stand condemned when judged according to God’s righteous decrees, and finally hell and death will be cast into a lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13 says that the sea will give up the dead that are in it: Yes, Mr. bin Laden, this means you!)
There are probably countless more things that can be written about this event. I am sure we will read and hear more about bin Laden and his last days as the news unfolds. As we consider this, let us remember that all of us are in need of the forgiveness and mercy of God, revealed in Christ Jesus and received through a relationship with Him. Bin Laden was evil, but we must remember that we too are sinners, in need of grace.
I, for one, will continue to pray for an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit, both in our nation and in those nations that remain hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.